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RIP Ralph Baer (1922-2014) I really, really hate writing obits. I really do. But I take it as a personal honor to be able to say good things about the men and women I respect, whether in this industry or just in my life, and Ralph Baer is the reason all of this exists in the first...

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The Jackening
Posted on Sunday, February 22 2009 @ 11:34:04 Eastern

Two games I've been looking forward to in the recent past are Resident Evil 5 and Street Fighter 4.   I'd been anticipating jumping into the fun, familiar mechanics and characters, either throwing shoryukens or shooting not-zombies in the face and then punching them, because fists hurt more than bullets for some reason. 

But when I loaded up the RE5 demo good old suplex-happy, knife-fighting Leon wasn't there.  Instead we get Chris and he's jacked.  Like, super-jacked.  I guess it's just supposed to make him seem tough, but he's got some serious biceps busting out of that tactical t-shirt thing and they're veiny.  Makes me feel inadequate.  Whatever, still a fun game.  Moving on. 

Street Figher 4 is what really put this whole thing over the edge for me.  I'm pretty sure Ryu started out in SF2 at 5'10" and 150lbs.  Did he fall into a bench press addiction in downtime between Street Figher editions?  Did they need to fill him out to look better on the wider aspect-ratio?  Am I just freaking out because this is the first time I've seen his manboobs in 3D?  Ryu's got a big chest, big arms, silly abs.  Looks like he wouldn't be able to straighten his elbows out to throw a hadouken. 

And there are a bunch of other, silllier games with super jacked up main characters: Gears of War, Unreal Tournament , Army of Two.  Characters that are all pretty much huge hyper-aggressive fist-pounding chads.  Not that the Street Fighter gang was super realistic to begin with, but they also never made me want to drink a protein shake.  Chris and the resident-evil protagonists always seemed more llike real people, though.  Really, I think the jacking-up of Chris Redfield is an example of the move away from survival horror everyone is crying about-- you can't really be scared if you're the incredible hulk.  I don't mind action-y gameplay, but I am getting tired of uber-muscled video game characters.  They have their place, but I think it's usually unnecessary and it makes Street Fighter 4 less pretty than it could have been.  At least now it's more believable that a Chris Redfield punch actually hurts more than a bullet to the forehead. 
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